I love to read Epic Fantasy, well ok, ANY Fantasy, so don't think I'm dissin' here. I've noticed a common theme and I'm wondering why this occurs.
Dark Overlord threatens to take over the world. All the races (Dwarves, Elves, Humans, Fuzzy Bunnies, etc) must all band together to save the world.
Hey, it's one guy. Why does everyone need to get together? Usually all the 'good guys' are of similar standing/power in the novel, but the bad guy is all alone on top of his mountain. Why is this?
Do Evil Overlords refuse to share power? Are they just that dang strong (Strong powerful not strong smelling)? Are the good guys really that weak that it takes all 'em to bring down the big bad guy? Why so many good guys and one bad guy? Even Hitler didn't work alone.
Correct me if I'm wrong here, please. But why doesn't the main bad guy ever need anyone similarly as strong as he/she to take over the world and why do ALL the good guys need to band together? What is it about this style of Epic Fantasy that draws us to read/write it?
February 3rd, 2005, 06:37 PM
I've noticed this too. I've only read one or two suspense novels that had more than one bad guy, but I don't think I've seen any in the Fantasy genre. Maybe we are drawn because of how strong this one bad guy is, after all, we were drawn to Superman because of his power of flight and his strength. Apparently we just love the idea of super human strength and power whether good or bad. The idea of needing everyone to band together only amplifies the power of the one bad guy. Besides, what bad guy have you ever heard of that wasn't egotistical and greedy? ;)
February 3rd, 2005, 07:14 PM
I think they do this to make you realize that the enemy is very powerful.
It is more catchy I think to have this one awesome bad guy standing on top of an army and in the palm of his hand a world full of power, then have the good guys who have been torn apart for years unite with eachother to take him down.
I think it gets the point of how much you need to be United with other races to conquer big problems.
February 3rd, 2005, 07:15 PM
Since Tolkien, many of the less original writers have used a "Dark Lord". Generaly Dark Lords tend to be stupid because the authors who use them arn't very good, they've written a stupid plot, and the evil overlord is just an excuse for the good guys to band together and do heroic things.
What I find amazing is how often evil is made out to be stupid. Generaly, real evil does not call itself "evil". Instead it masquerades as "good" in order to commit evil.
As to good guys needing to band together...well its formula isn't it? If you have an evil overlord/dark lord then your already dealing in a subjective matter where originality is often a little thin on the ground.....
February 3rd, 2005, 07:30 PM
Because evil is so much more of a predator than good. Evil feeds on the pain of others. Good is self sufficient. All of these Dark Lords are metaphors anyway. As are the white wizards. Evil can have partners, but ultimately they could not work together. Friendship and teamwork are not traits of evil. Selfishness and back stabbing are solitary exercises that exclude relationships that are not based upon self satisfaction.
A team of evil would be a contradiction in terms. Ultimately it would implode from jealousy and envy and all the traits that characterize it.
February 3rd, 2005, 08:17 PM
I'm waiting for someone to write a really good fantasy epic where there is no clear cut good/evil. Kind of something along the lines of Troy. Where the entire damn thing is depressing because you don't want anyone to die but they fight anyway. That would be cool.
Are there any books like this? I'd be most interested to read them if there were.
February 3rd, 2005, 08:36 PM
But wouldn't that change it from being an Epic Fantasy (and all that it implies) to a Realistic Fantasy?
February 3rd, 2005, 09:08 PM
Good point. ;)
February 4th, 2005, 12:22 AM
I don't think blurring the lines between good and evil would make a fantasy any less Epic, to me it'd be quite the contrary. You'd wonder which side to root for. Imagine if you were rooting for both sides for different reasons.
Example: Billy the Kid and his Gang.
Tell me you weren't rooting for Billy not to die in Young Guns.
In some cases the 'evil' can be romanticized and actually draw the reader to the 'wrong' side of the story. When you should be rooting for the good guy, you end up rooting for the bad guy. I've not seen anything like this done in Fantasy and think it could really alter the face of fantasy by giving this type of twist.
Don't get me wrong. I still love the eternal battle between ultimate good versus ultimate evil. I'm just curious why Ultimate good has to team up against an individual. Why can't evil have a team just like the good guys? Billy the Kid had his gang. The 'super' villains teamed up all the time. Why can't villains team up in Epic Fantasy? Is it a taboo? I'd like to know.
February 4th, 2005, 02:08 AM
Greg, have you read George R.R. Martin? He definately blurs the lines between good and evil. Lots of "bad" guys also. Not just one overlord.